“Just like Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism, it becomes unavoidable that Islamophobia must be regarded as a crime against humanity,” Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan was speaking at the fifth global forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who was seated behind Erdoğan on the dais, did not react.
Erdoğan’s comments echoed U.N. General Assembly Resolution 3379, adopted on Nov. 10, 1975 by a vote of 72 to 35 (with 32 abstentions), which determined “that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” The resolution was revoked in 1991 by UN General Assembly Resolution 4686.
“The status accorded to Palestine at the U.N. General Assembly [in recognizing it last November as a non-member observer state] was indeed a historic achievement. This has been a very important turning point in global peace,” Erdoğan added.
The non-governmental monitoring organization UN Watch expressed shock over the anti-Jewish remarks, and urged UN chief Ban Ki-moon — who was present on the stage yet stayed silent — to speak out and condemn the speech. The Geneva-based human rights group also called on Erdogan to apologize, and hoped US President Obama would press him to do so.
“We remind secretary-general Ban Ki-moon that his predecessor Kofi Annan recognized that the UN’s 1975 Zionism-is-racism resolution was an expression of anti-Semitism, and he welcomed its repeal,” UN Watch said in a released statement.
The organization urged all members of the Alliance’s High Level Group, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “to denounce remarks that fundamentally contradict the very purpose of a forum supposedly dedicated to mutual tolerance.”
“Erdoğan’s misuse of this global podium to incite hatred, and his resort to Ahmadinejad-style pronouncements appealing to the lowest common denominator in the Muslim world, will only strengthen the belief that his government is hewing to a confrontational stance, and fundamentally unwilling to end its four-year-old feud with Israel,” the human rights group said on its blog.